Christmas Day proposal is picture perfect for Pendle sweethearts
Talented amateur photographer Erica, who is a regular contributor to our 'Photo of the Day', now has a photo of her lifetime to cherish, thanks to fiance Robert Nash who asked a friend to capture the moment when he went down on one knee to make the proposal.
Robert (49) chose the perfect setting of a small bridge in the pretty Yorkshire Dales village of Austwick where the keen walkers from Laneshaw Bridge were enjoying a stroll with their dogs and friends Graham and Julie Broadhead.
Erica (48) said: "I was overwhelmed when it happened. We were walking along this tiny bridge when Robert dropped to one knee. He had asked Graham to film the moment on his phone but he took a picture by mistake.
"As it turned out it's a lovely picture and one I will cherish forver. It was nice to have Graham and Julie with us too as they have been through some difficult times recently which have forged an even stronger friendship between us all."
Robert, who has his own business, Nash Joinery, even fashioned a wooden ring to present to Erica for the proposal. The happy couple, who have been together for four years, originally met when they were 17 at Riddiough's timber yard in Colne, but it would take several more decades before love finally blossomed.
Also in the wonderful photograph are the couple's two dogs Gracie, a working cocker spaniel, Mabel, a sprocker, and their friends' cocker spaniel Lottie.
Erica, whose family own Pendle Frozen Foods, added: "We always like to go walking somewhere in the countryside on Christmas Day and not have too much of a fuss. Robert had checked to see if the local pub was open so we could go for a drink after the proposal but when we got there it was shut!
"Instead we went back to our caravan and celebrated with broccoli and stilton soup and ham sandwiches. It was lovely. Robert's proposal came completely out of the blue but it was the best Christmas present I've ever had. He also gave me a potato masher!"
Erica's family are well-known throughout East Lancashire, her father Anthony Platt and uncle Neil Slinger set up the two Wimpy bars in Burnley centre, which they later ran as their own franchise, Burger Chef.
Robert, from Earby, and Erica, who is originally from Blacko, are now planning the big day, which fittingly, they hope to hold on top of a hill.
"Our life is all about being out on the hills and moors with our dogs so hopefully we can get married outside somewhere," Erica added.